The Real Reasons None Of These Movie Sequels Will Ever Happen

Movie studios are never shy about going back to the well and bleeding a beloved franchise dry in the name of making a quick buck. In today's cultural climate, if a movie's a hit, then chances are we'll be seeing one, two, or three sequels cranked out before you even realize you're a fan. (Were you aware there are eight, yes, eight American Pie movies?) So that makes it all the more shocking when some franchises take the less-is-more approach.

Hellboy 3

Fans of the Hellboy franchise (or "Hellboy-toys,"as they're known nowhere) have been clamoring for that final chapter in the perceived trilogy of films since Hellboy II: The Golden Army was released back in 2008. And there have been rumors, oh have there been rumors, over the years, mainly because lead Ron Perlman, director Guillermo Del Toro, and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola couldn't shut up about it.

But alas, it looks like all those rumors were for naught, because Del Toro weighed in on Twitter just last week with his final verdict onthe franchise, and it isn't the one fans were hoping for. At first, there was hope. Del Toro asked his followers to vote on whether he should reach out to Mingola and Perlman and get the ball rolling. But then, just as quickly, he shut the door, announcing the film was never going to happen. Perlman seemed to confirm that he was done with the role, too, making the lives of this franchise's fans a living hell.

E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears

If you loved E.T., but always wanted to see the kids in it horrifically tortured, then, man, would its planned sequel, E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears, have been for you.

After the sensation that E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial became in 1982, director Steven Spielberg had his co-writer, Melissa Matheson, put together a treatment for a follow-up. The story, according to the initial synopsis, would have found evil albino aliens coming to earth in search of E.T., or "Zrek "as he's apparently knows to his people. These white aliens hate the brown-skinned ones and have come to kill Zrek and teach us all a lesson on how deeply to bury your subtext. When they can't find him, they bide their time, killing forest animals and kidnapping kids.

Yes, that's right. The kids from the first movie are back, but this time, they are being tortured for information on their Reese's Pieces loving friend. So, instead of phoning home, Elliot gets his ass Zero Dark Thirty-ed.

Maybe you're starting to see why Spielberg and his team had second thoughts. It's one thing to make a scary movie. It's another to intentionally destroy the psychological well-being of the first film's young fans.

Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash

Who would win in a fight between X and Y? For fans of the horror genre, there was always one killer crossover they pined for above all others, dating back to the closing shot of Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday. Sadly, the 2003 flick Freddy vs. Jason was not what fans had longed for. But, where there's a will, and an intellectual property worth money, there tends to be a way. Rumors soon started circulating about a reunion of the horror icons, this time with Ash Wednesday from the Evil Dead movies joining in on the fun.

So what happened? According to Brad Miska, over at Bloody Disgusting, after Jason vs. Freddy became a box office hit, New Line reached out to Evil Dead creator Sam Raimi about bringing Ash into the fold. A handshake deal commenced, but then Raimi's own The Grudge remake destroyed at the box office, making $187 million. With money signs in his eyes, Raimi apparently backed out of the deal, looking to capitalize on the Evil Dead franchise as a standalone property and leaving Jason and Freddy to duke it out all by their lonesome.

The Bodyguard 2

While The Bodyguard today is best remembered for the immortal hit "I Will Always Love You," which Whitney Houston sang on the film's soundtrack, the movie made a pretty hefty dent at the box office. It isn't shocking that a sequel was being considered. What is shocking was who was being considered to star in it.

According to Kevin Costner, he'd made overtures to Princess Diana herself to play opposite him in the film. And here's where things get weird. She was considering saying yes. During an interview with Anderson Cooper, Costner says he promised the late legend that he "would take care of her just the same way that I took care [of Whitney] ... She wanted me to write it for her. I said 'I'll tailor it for you if you're interested.' She goes: 'I am interested.'"

There's no doubt that it would have been interesting to see the former Princess of Wales take on a Hollywood blockbuster. Who knows, maybe Costner could have sung, "I Will Always Love You ... Too," on the soundtrack. Sadly, it was not to be. Costner, apparently, received the completed script on August 30, 1997, the day before Diana died in a car crash.

Se7en 2: Ei8ht

Few scripts have been through as many incarnations, and had as many Hollywood players attached, as Ei8gt, the never-to-be sequel to David Fincher's classic serial killer noir Se7en.

The screenplay began as an unrelated spec, telling the story of a psychic cop who develops a connection with the serial killer he's hunting. And, of course, because studio execs have worse instincts than George Costanza, they immediately thought they'd found the sequel script for their smash hit Se7en.

The only problems were that the script stank, and most of the people involved with the first film knew it. David Fincher and Brad Pitt balked, not wanting to make a sequel at all, much less one as nutty as this. Morgan Freeman, in his noble effort to have a part in every movie ever made, signed on. Still, the project floundered, and he jumped ship to another serial killer–hunting story, Alex Cross's Along Came a Spider. It took Anthony Hopkins to finally push it over the finish line, churning out a forgettable thriller now titled Solace in 2015.

Gladiator 2: Christ Killer

Nick Cave is a notoriously intense musician. He also, for some reason, wrote the screenplay for a Gladiator sequel, because sometimes life just throws us all a curveball. It was Russell Crowe's idea to bring the outsider rocker into the fold, in the hopes that he could find a creative solution to the problem they were having. See, Russell Crowe's character, Maximus, died at the end of the first film, so having him front a sequel was proving to be a bit of an issue.

How did Cave get around this? Well, the short answer is: he didn't. Instead, he leaned into it big time. The script, according to a blogger who got his hands on it, saw Maximus cutting deals with the Roman gods, fighting killer crocodiles, and taking part in a litany of history's greatest battles, from the Crusades to the Second World War. We last see him starring in a bathroom mirror at the Pentagon, trapped forever as the eternal solider for displeasing the gods. It isn't a shock that this script was rejected by the studio, seeing how Cave doesn't just rehash the first film, despite its Oscar glory, but it would have been a hell of a ride.

The Godfather 4

The first two Godfather films are classics of American cinema. The third is a hard lesson in why nepotism doesn't work, especially when you're casting your own daughter in a part where she has sex with a relative. Yuck. But, if Francis Ford Coppola, the legendary director of hits like Apocalypse Now and The Conversation, had had his way, there would have been a fourth Godfather film.

Coppola, in fact, hated retreading ground. When it came time to do a fourth one, his one motivation was money, but not for himself. Mario Puzo, Coppola's cowriter on the films and the author of the original novel, was hitting hard times by the '90s. As the filmmaker told MTV, "Mario was very concerned to make money because he was getting older and he really wanted to leave his kids well fixed, and I said to Paramount, "Look it, we have an idea of a structure of this thing. Pay Mario Puzo a million dollars to do this first draft, and I'll help him and work with him. You don't have to pay me anything. But he's getting old, and he's not entirely well." And they didn't do it. And then he died. And that was the end of that.

Pulp Fiction 2

Following up on his cult hit Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino was still an underground festival darling when Pulp Fiction opened in the fall of 1994. Within six months, he was an icon, John Travolta was back to being a movie star, and every movie released had to be about fast-talking criminals with pop culture obsessions. Unsurprisingly, talk of a sequel began almost immediately.

Over the years, Tarantino hasn't been shy about laying out his vision for the movie, called The Vega Brothers, a crime-infested prequel to both Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. The flick would have starred Michael Madsen and Travolta, reprising their iconic roles from Tarantino's first two movies, but with a twist. It turns out that Vincent Vega and Mr. Blonde were in fact brothers.

Unfortunately, the movie lagged behind Tarantino's other passion projects, like the Kill Bill series, and the actors got older, as actors tend to do. This wouldn't have been a problem except for the little fact that both the characters died in their respective movies, and it would be a little hard to explain why Vincent and Vic Vega were, all of a sudden, AARP members.

Napoleon Dynamite 2

Napoleon Dynamite is one of those lighting-in-a-bottle movies, in that seeing lighting in a bottle would be weird to watch, hard to explain, and you could probably make a lot of money off of it. That's all to say that it was one of a kind. And, one-of-a-kind movies don't always lend themselves to follow-ups.

Directed by a 25-year-old Jared Hess, and starring a bunch of unknown actors, the film somehow earned $44 million dollars off of a $400,000 budget. Profit like that will get a lot of people's attention, and yet the long-rumored sequel has never arrived. So what gives?

Well, there was a Napoleon Dynamite animated TV series in 2012, which ran for six episodes before being quietly canceled after tanking in the ratings. And then there's Hess's movies, which all pretty much all floundered at the box office. Star Jon Heder hasn't exactly set the world on fire, either, although he was sure given the chance. He starred in a string of big-budget comedies, like The Benchwarmers with Rob Schneider and Blades of Glory with Will Ferrell, without making much of an impression, critically or financially.

Inception 2

Thanks to making it rain for Warner Bros. with his Batman trilogy,  Christopher Nolan is one of the few directors who can write his own ticket in Hollywood these days. That's how Inception, an original drama about invading other people's dreams, was greenlit at a budget of $160 million dollars. Fortunately for everyone involved, it raked in $832 million worldwide, so there weren't a lot of complaints. It turns out studio execs like making money. Who knew?

So, where's that sequel? The easy answers seems to be that Nolan is one of the busiest filmmakers in Hollywood, and while he did make three Batman movies, his instincts tend to lend themselves more to standalone films than franchises. Also, if he were to revisit the movie, he would potentially ruin one of the most ambiguous and talked-about endings in recent film history. Despite countless Internet debates about whether the top at the end of the movie drops, or just keeping on spinning, does anyone really want to know the answer?

Ferris Bueller's Day Off 2

Why couldn't Ferris Bueller have another day off? That question has haunted fans of the John Hughes classic since its release back in 1986. The problem with mounting another movie, Broderick told Vanity Fair, was that the story was about a singular time in a kid's life. "We thought about a sequel to Ferris Bueller, where he'd be in college or at his first job, and the same kinds of things would happen again. But neither of us found a very exciting hook to that."

Alan Ruck, who played the sad sack Cameron in the movie, admitted he used to brainstorm ideas just for fun. "I used to think why don't they wait until Matthew and I are in our seventies and do Ferris Bueller Returns and have Cameron be in a nursing home. He doesn't really need to be there, but he just decided his life is over, so he committed himself to a nursing home. And Ferris comes and breaks him out. And they go to, like, a titty bar and all this ridiculous stuff happens. And then, at the end of the movie, Cameron dies." Old people dying? Sounds like a laugh riot to us.

Iron Man 4

"There isn't one in the pipe," Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. has said. "No, there's no plan for a fourth Iron Man." So sayeth the man who launched a thousand superheroes movies.

When Iron Man premiered in 2008, riding on the backs of a comedy director, a washed-up star, and a lesser-known comic book character, expectations weren't high. But like the suit of armor that allows Tony Stark to be the Armored Avenger, the project soared. The movie would not only launch the Iron Man franchise but the Marvel Cinematic Universe, branching off into Norse gods, talking raccoons, and strange doctors. Downey, who was viewed as a central piece of the puzzle, negotiated his deal with Marvel Studios wisely, earning what has been reported to be nearly half a billion dollars off of the films.

That right there may be why we won't be seeing a new, standalone Iron Man movie anytime soon. It would just cost too much. It seems that the two sides have sorted out how to use him, and how expensive that will be for now, but that deal seemingly precludes him carrying his own movie.

I Am Legend 2

I Am Legend, the 2007 blockbuster, seemed like a natural when it came to the sequel game, thanks to its bananas box office. Judging by what the creatives behind the project have said over the years, it seems like they tried a little bit of everything to make it happen.

First, they recognized that Will Smith's character was dead, so they tried to make a prequel but could never find a story that worked. Some of the ideas that were bandied about? A road picture prequel, taking place on a trip to Washington D.C., that would have involved a zombie elephant. An outbreak during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. And, of course, a straight up sequel, with Will Smith playing the clone of his character from the first film. In the end, it seems like this project collapsed under the weight of expectations. Everyone wanted to see how much more cash they could squeeze out of it, but no one had a good idea.

Forrest Gump

If life is like a box of chocolates, then call the team behind Forrest Gump Willy Wonka, because they were rolling in it by the time their movie went on to earn $700 million worldwide and Best Picture at the 1995 Academy Award. So where's the sequel?

A first hint of what went wrong may be in the day the script was delivered. September 10, 2001. That's right, as it was being flown first class to Hollywood, the world was changing beneath it.

Still, it may not have taken a national tragedy to shut this project down. Tom Hanks never seemed very keen to do it, telling Entertainment Weekly that Forrest's famous catchphrase "'stupid is' makes me kind of sick." It wasn't that he hated the part, or anything, he just felt they had said what needed saying. In fact, in the mid-'90s, Hanks was famously against doing sequels of any sort, turning down follow-ups to Splash and Big as well. Pixar, and a Scrooge McDuck level of cash, seems to have changed his mind, but Forrest Gump was apparently a casualty of that conviction.

Constantine 2

As with most Keanu Reeves movies, it's easy to argue he was horribly miscast here as the suave, surly, chain-smoking John Constantine. So, why would anyone want a see a sequel to this mess of a movie?

There was a pitch floating around for a while, developed by the screenwriter of the original film, Frank A. Cappello. The plan was for the original team to make a much smaller sequel, in the $35 million budget range, and with a hard R rating, but the project seemed to go nowhere.

But Keanu didn't want to make sequels, at least when the first movie came out. That may have had something to do with him coming off of The Matrix franchise. And now, with an NBC Constantine series come and gone, and rumors that the character will be a big part of the new Justice League Dark movie being developed by Warner Bros., it seems unlikely we'll see Reeves back in the trench coat anytime soon.